It's not about guns...

It's about citizenship


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eBOOK Politics, Rights, Guns: the Great Political Dysfunction (August, 2012) is available.
33,000 words, $2.99.
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It is also available in PDF.
http://www.potowmack.org/eBOOK2.pdf


The Potowmack Institute's home page from August, 2012, to October, 2016, is at
http://www.potowmack.org/indexB.html
IndexB containst a jump to IndexA.

The Potowmack Institute's homepage from August, 2010 to August, 2012 is at
http://www.potowmack.org/index3.html.
The Potowmack Institute homepage from May, 2008 to August, 2010 is at
http://www.potowmack.org/index2.html.
The homepage prior to May, 2008 is at
http://www.potowmack.org/gunviol.html
Much more information is on those pages.



Ret. Sup Ct Justice Stevens missed the point.

Assaulting Jim Zumbo

The NRA on Extremists

NRA scams its members

The Lionel Show
AirAm Radio's ignorant, crude,
ugly, air waves barbarian
Dear John Ashcroft
The armed populace doctrine
at the DOJ
The Washington Post
cultivating ignorance.
"Sixty Minutes"
Failing its Mission
NPR's Diane Rehm
Civilized without Substance.
A longstanding dereliction.
Violence Policy Center
The public health agenda
falls in line with the NRA.
Militia Act of 1792
To enroll— conscript, register
That is, a coerced civic obligation.
Return of Militia
Inventory of private weapons
in the early Republic reported
to the President of the US
History
John Kenneth Rowland
Lawrence Cress
John K. Mahon
Others
Obama's challenge
Going around the NRA leadership
Senate Judiciary Com.
Jan. 30, 2013 hearings Congress fails again.
Pseudohistory
LaPierre's list

The Quotes, the Quotes
Fabricating the armed populace doctrine
Libertarians, Conservatives

Tenn. Law Rev., 1995

What does the NRA want?

December 27, 2016

Trump will nominate judges to the federal judiciary. These will go before the Senate Judiciary Committee for questioning and referral to the whole senate for confirmation. We have reached a very critical point in the life of the Republic. Trump and his appointment present enormous opportunity the change the battleground of gun rights from a progun/antigun culture war where the terms of engagement are demagoguery to the battleground of constitutional doctrine. It gets down to one simple question from member of the Senate Judiciary Committee to Trump's nominees: "Do you accept and support Judge Silberman's conclusion in the Parker case that we can have "registration . . . for militia service if called up"? That is a particular version of the more general question, "Do you accept and support the legitimacy of constitutional government?" We cannot have judges on the federal judiciary who do no accept the legitimacy of constitutional government.

The Senate Judiciary Committee will be reorganized the first week of January. Some members may leave. New members may be added. Please be encouraged to contact member of the Senate Judiciary Committee to see that the question is asked.


November 28, 2016

Trump will name nominees to the federal judiciary. He has stated that he will respect the Second Amendment. What is that supposed to mean? Judge Silberman in the Parker case concluded that we can have "registration . . . for militia service if called up". That is the original civic purpose. Militia duty in the early republic was conscript duty. Nothing in the subsequent Supreme Court gun rights cases reversed Judge Silberman conclusion. Will Trump establish a litmus test for his nominees that they will overturn Judge Silbermanís conclusion; Or, will he accept the legitimacy of constitutional government?

The nominees will go before the derelict Senate Judiciary Committee. Will anyone there ask the simple question, Do you accept and support Judge Silbermanís conclusion? We are in a very critical time in our history. Will we have constitutional government or some semblance of anarchy?


Update November 13, 2016

Through the absurdity of the Electoral College, Donald Trump, who did not receive a majority in the popular vote, is to be president of the United States. The greatest danger is that Trump will appoint judges to the federal judiciary, most critically to the Supreme Court, who have no conviction to constitutional government. Without accountability to the public, anything goes. Constitutional government itself is at stake.

Unrecognized by anyone, Judge Silberman in the Parker case decided that we can have "registration [of gun ownership] . . . for militia service if called up". That settles the issue for policy making purposes. There is nothing in the subsequent Supreme Court rulings that reverses Judge Silberman's conclusion. So far the Supreme Court has only entered into the false and rather absurd polarization of a progun/antigun culture war, but the Supreme Court is not bound by precedent. What is next? The important question is, Will we have constitutional government or some semblance of anarchy, and will anyone care? We are in a very critical time.

The gun controllers continue in their failed strategies. Their efforts are not just a foolish waste of time but are counter productive. The Obama Administration's gun safety agenda is simply an expanded version of the gun controller's trigger lock agenda. The Obama Administration kept the gun controllers under control. We can talk about trigger locks but we cannot talk about the contours of citizenship under constitutional government. It is not as if they have not been well informed. With the Trump presidency we are at the most critical juncture since at least the Civil War.

Letters to Americans for Responsible Solutions' Mark Kelly :
http://www.potowmack.org/markKARS.html
No Response.
http://www.potowmack.org/161128mk.html
No Response
http://www.potowmack.org/161215mk.html
No Response
http://www.potowmack.org/161220mk.pdf
No Response

Others have been well informed.
Submission to the Harvard Business Review, early 2015.
No response.
http://www.potowmack.org/2015HBR.html

We have degenerated far in recent gun rights cases, but we can go farther. Meanwhile, the gun rights militants don't need to worry about any threats from our shallow, lazy news organs starting with the New York Times. Read on.


October 21, 2016

The greatest political danger is a government that does not understand what it means to be a government. The rule of law, the state's monopoly on violence, and the state internal sovereignty all mean the same thing.

Nothing contained in this file is original. The source documents and source arguments have been available to anyone who looked for more than two hundred years. Robert Parry of Consortium News and Steven Krulik come late to this subject but make similar points.
http://kryo.com/2ndAmen/Quotes.htm
http://www.globalresearch.ca/gun-control-in-america-the-second-amendments-fake-history/5481031
http://www.opednews.com/articles/The-Right-s-Second-Amendme-by-Robert-Parry-121221-827.html
Krulik's "fake quotes" and Parry's history have been on the Potowmack Institute website since the 1990s. Parry and Krulick have no audience. The Potowmack Institute has no audience. Objective fact has no audience. The gun controllers and the Obama Administration cannot get much past promoting trigger locks. Our shallow lazy news organs, starting with the NYTimes (see below) are an appalling spectacle. The bloody consequences are in the daily news. There is a public to educate.

Go back to the beginning. Alexander Hamilton wrote in Federalist Paper No. ONE:

More recently (1944) Friedrich Hayek described how totalitarian regimes pervert language. Perverting language is the standard technique of demagogues.

The Founding Generation created a state with a viable concept of a governing authority. The lower orders of society were conscripted into militia duty.

The greatest problems we have are the cowardice of our politicians, who are nonetheless under oath of public office, the political and intellectual dereliction of our shallow lazy news organs, and the condescension of just about everyone else. Not the politicians, not the news organs, thanks to the NYTimes among others, and not anyone else needs to worry that we have an enlightened citizenry capable of self-government that demands that its interest in order libery as opposed to anarchy be served.

We have the gun controllers who cannot get much past promoting trigger locks and the Obama Administration whose gun safety agenda is simply an expanded version of the trigger lock agenda. The gun rights militants, led by the NRA, will defeat them at every juncture. One definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result. Nothing ever changes.

We have been through three debates of the 2016 presidential contest. Can we get serious about consitutional government?

Donald Trump wants to secure the borders. He speaks at the National Rifle Association's annual convention. Secure borders implies the existence of a nation state, a national government, a viable concept of a governing authority and a viable concept of constitutional government. The NRA's core doctrine denies all of those.

Trump proclaims that he will not recognized the outcome of the election unless he is elected. Will he call out the NRA's "armed citizen guerrillas" to enforce a different outcome? The Nazi Party in 1933 at least seized power with the appearance of constitutional legitimacy.

What the NRA wants is what it argued in its amicus brief to the Supreme Court in Perpich (released 1990): The right to maintain the militia as the "armed populace at large", a collection of sovereign individuals who made a treaty not a government.

Donald Trump said in the second debate that he would nominate justices to the Supreme Court who would "respect the Constitution." What is that supposed to mean? To respect the constitution means to respect constitutional government. To respect constitutional government means to respect the opinions of the courts. Anyone who does not accept and support the opinions of the courts has to launch a campaign for a constitutional amendment.

In Parker, after many pages in which Judge Silberman tried to disparage the original civic purpose of gun ownership and invent out of the "penumbra" and "emanations" of the Constitution a libertarian privacy right to gun ownership, he then completely contradicted himself by concluding that we can have "registration . . . for militia service if called up"— that is, we can have conscription. That is the original civic purpose. Milita duty in the early republic was conscript duty. There are no libertarian privacy rights in a conscript military organization. The NRA works hardest to prevent accountability to a governing authority. Accountability to a governing authority includes registration to fulfill a military obligation, a coerced civic obligation. If the purpose is military preparedness, there have to be standards. Standards for gun ownership have to be the basis of policy.

We don't get standards. We don't get standards that derive from constitutional doctrine. We do not secure constitutional rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights by defeating legislation. Rights are secured by the opinions of the courts and enforced by court orders— that is, by guys with guns. Anything else is paraconstitutionalism which leads to paramilitarism of which we have plenty.

When departees from Clyven Bundy's ranch go to Las Vegas, ambush and assassinate police officers (the most visible presence of a governing authority and who we can assume are well-armed and well-trained in the use of arms), and go to Oregon to defy lawful government, they encounter law enforcement. What is missing is a vehement declaration that resonates in the public mind that it is lawful government, with all it imperfections, that is the foundation of civil society (See Hamilton above). Without that vehement declaration the "armed citizen guerrillas" become emboldened. Will we next see them in legislative chambers and courtrooms demanding their way? History does not repeat itself but there are recurrent themes and there is a historical precedent.

If not in the election season, nominees will eventually come before the derelict Senate Judiciary Committee. Can we decide then to respect the Constitution, that there is a difference between constitutional government and anarchy, that the oath of public office taken by holders of public office, including members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, means something?

Below are slightly revised introductory paragraphs, not reviewed, of a manuscript, not yet completed, proposed to the New York Times. It is proposed that the finished article contain reproductions of source documents as sidebars. Anyone who wants to argue can argue with the source documents.

Don't anyone have high hopes that the New York Times after years of political and intellectual dereliction will suddently become a serious voice of public enlightenment. It would be too frightening for the New York Times to publish into a sea of ignorance which is in large part of its own making.

If the New York Times can't be a serious voice for public enlightenment, it might explain what business it thinks it is in.


The greatest political danger is a government that does not understand what it means to be a government. The rule of law, the state's monopoly on violence, and the state internal sovereignty all mean the same thing.


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